Spain: Grounding and Elevation in Barcelona’s Springtime

At this point in our travels, Kendall and I discovered our need for a balance between two styles. We depended on at least one grounding day, dedicated to notable landmarks that unveiled layered histories and added gravity to our steps in meaningful ways. On the same trip, we also desired at least one elevating day devoted to spontaneity, where we could float along streets, open to spur-of-the-moment inclinations.

Our Airbnb host, Leonardo, welcomed us to his neighborhood on the outskirts of Barcelona and, in classic Spanish fashion, simply could not contain his pride for its close proximity to the football stadium. We prepared ourselves for our time in this beautiful city by grocery shopping at a local store, and, upon returning to our apartment, our key wouldn’t turn in the lock. After many attempts and resigned acceptance, this mishap gave us a chance to meander around our block in the spring sunshine. Returning to our apartment with one last effort in mind, we were stunned and then loopy with laughter as we realized that we simply had been trying to open the wrong door. Lighthearted and refusing to take ourselves too seriously, we strolled to the beach and perused street markets along the way.

The following day, we took the metro to gaze upon Casa Batlló, a building designed by Antoni Gaudí that was considered one of his true masterpieces. We discovered little treasures in this quarter, like a bookstore with an open patio that overlooked the backside of Gaudi’s designs and terraces that laced the courtyards. Ice cream cones in hand, we took countless steps up to the entrance of Park Güell, a public park system composed of lush gardens and funky architecture. The park revealed a spectacular panorama of the whole city, scattered with colorful accents and a faraway view of the Balearic Sea.

Riding rented scooters, we skirted alongside the extensive shoreline and antiquated alleyways. As the sun set, we ate delicious Tapas, drank fruit-filled Sangria, watched slow-moving Tango dancers, sipped coffee, and explored the Gothic part of downtown. Each street was filled with vitality as birds swooped between balconies and echoes of street musicians bounded between buildings made from stone.